National Mentorship Program Helps Deliver Promise to Young People – Julia Abel

Julia Abel, Head of Development and Partnerships at Inspiring Scotland.

Young people like Jamie, whose mentor gave him space to vent his frustrations away from a chaotic family life. Or Cara, who was supported by her mentor through a period of grief, providing much-needed stability during a traumatic time.

These young people are sponsored by intandem, Scotland’s national mentoring programme. Funded by the Scottish Government and implemented by Inspiring Scotland, the program connects young people with volunteer mentors to build meaningful, supportive and lasting relationships.

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For five years, intandem has been supporting young people taken into their homes under mandatory supervision orders (OSC). Although being in care is often linked to social disadvantage, these young people, through no fault of their own, have the poorest outcomes of any young person in Scotland, and intandem helps these young people develop relationships positive experiences and to overcome the obstacles that come with a difficult situation. childhood. Weekly mentoring sessions encourage these relationships to grow and allow youth and their mentors to build trust over time.

Intandem is a community mentorship program, with meetings taking place outside of the school environment. Over the past five years, intandem has trained 733 volunteers – an army of everyday unsung heroes who engage in weekly get-togethers – and coordinated 450 youth-mentor matches. With over 3,500 children and young people in Scotland currently living at home as part of a CSO, it is essential that we continue to invest in them with mentorship support so that these children do not fall through the cracks. .

Young mentees consistently report improved self-esteem, increased engagement with their communities, and improved friendships. A young intandem mentee said, “If I hadn’t had a mentor in my life, I think I would have been locked in my room, sad and depressed. Another noted that mentorship “gives them space to get out of their homes and gives them [me] time away from my sister and my mother”. With Covid-19 causing increased feelings of anxiety and isolation, it is more crucial than ever that all young people have access to mentorship if they need it.

In 2018, the Independent Care Review heard from over 5,500 people with care experience about what needs to change in the Scottish care system. The result was The Promise, a commitment to bring change and bring the voices of young people experienced in care into decision-making, and intandem is committed to helping Scotland #KeepThePromise. As part of this commitment, he hosts a Youth Forum, where young people experienced in care can speak out on the issues closest to them. The intandem team was also joined this year by an intern with lived experience, who is helping to shape the future work of intandem.

Along with essential funding from the Scottish Government, intandem is made possible by the dedication of mentors and the commitment of the programme’s 12 charity partners, who work tirelessly to coordinate matches across Scotland, while intandem is currently embedded in 19 local authorities and aspires to bring its services to even more young people across Scotland.

It also has a bold and ambitious vision that Scottish children, young people and families can stay together to build and maintain positive and loving relationships. By continuing to grow and deliver, intandem can help Scotland #KeepThePromise all infants, children, young people, adults and their families experienced in care – that every child grows up loved, safe and respected, able to achieve its full potential.

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